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Physiological and performance effects of glycerol hyperhydration and rehydration

Simon P Van Rosendal, Mark A Osborne, Robert G Fassett, Jeff S Coombes
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00254.x 690-705 First published online: 1 December 2009


Studies have shown that beverages containing glycerol can enhance and maintain hydration status and may improve endurance exercise performance by attenuating adverse physiological changes associated with dehydration. Improvements to performance include increased endurance time to exhaustion by up to 24%, or a 5% increase in power or work. However, some studies have found no performance benefits during either prolonged exercise or specific skill and agility tests. In studies that have shown benefits, the improvements have been associated with thermoregulatory and cardiovascular changes. These include increased plasma volume and sweat rates, as well as reduced core temperature and ratings of perceived exertion. In a very small number of subjects, glycerol consumption has been associated with side-effects including nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, dizziness, and headaches. In summary, while glycerol and fluid ingestion results in hyperhydration, the documented benefits to exercise performance remain inconsistent.

  • endurance
  • glycerol
  • hyperhydration
  • performance
  • rehydration
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